and numbers just out from the government today show why. since the recession began, household incomes have fallen nearly 3% to just over $50,000. adjusting for inflation, americans are making $4,000 less than they were a decade ago. and their biggest investment, their home, has lost nearly 6% of its value. the recession has not only affected our wallets but our hearts. young people are putting off marriage. over a three-year period, the number of americans under 35 who were married fell 3%. but behind all these numbers are real people with real stories. here's our senior business correspondent anthony mason. >> you know, unless it was an air bubble.... >> reporter: in south salem, new york, 53-year-old chuck tater has been working overtime at the garage he owns but still earning less money. >> between shop work, answering the phone, and you know, answering tech questions on the internet, i put a good 70 to 80 hours in. doesn't work very well that way.